Ngorongoro Crater

About Ngorongoro Crater

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ngorongoro Crater is the jewel in Tanzania’s crown; the world's largest intact volcanic caldera and a haven to a wondrous array of animal life, which makes the crater a "must do" on any visit to Tanzania. On an Ngorongoro Crater safari, the backdrop of the crater walls makes for some stunning photographic opportunities, as you see the animals wander through the grasslands on the crater floor towards Lake Magadi.

The crater can be accessed from lodges perched on its rim or from the town of Karatu, where some slightly cheaper accommodation options can be found. Naturally, the crater is an alluring destination all year round, so when it comes to choosing accommodation, location is everything. With this in mind, we love Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, located right by the Lemala access road, meaning you are down on the crater floor long before other vehicles so can enjoy some quiet time before it gets very busy. If you are looking to really treat yourselves to one of Africa's leading lodges, then &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge can't be beaten for opulence and comfort. 

The access to the crater means that even from the lodges on the crater rim, a trip here tends to be a full day or half-day excursion (depending on where you’re staying) and you can take a picnic lunch along with you. There are some lovely picnic spots on the crater floor, where you can find wonderful spots to sit back and have a break to enjoy the stunning views. With this in mind, you will need to stay a minimum of two nights in this area to be able to enjoy a trip down into the crater.

It's not without reason that the crater is a firm favourite - the game driving is superb and the views are breathtaking, both from the rim as you descend into the base and from all around when you are enjoying your game viewing on the crater floor. A must-do on any Northern Tanzania itinerary, where you can also visit the neighbouring Serengeti National Park and many other spectacular sites.

For more information, why not speak to one of our experts on +44 (0) 20 7843 3500 or email info@africatravel.co.uk


  • Enjoy the stunning view down to the Crater floor and pick out the herds of antelope as they make their way across the grassy plains
  • Elephants can be tough to find in the crater, but it’s a rewarding experience when you do. They can be found browsing in the tree canopy around the rim of the crater or down on the floor in the Gorigor Swamps
  • Lake Magadi is one of the most beautiful features of the Crater and you may be lucky enough to see the large flocks of flamingos that can often be seen on the lake
  • The crater is a haven for black rhinos, as well as boasting strong buffalo, lion and leopard populations too


  • Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Black Rhinos, Buffalo, Flamingos, Elands, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Hyenas and over 500 species of bird are found throughout the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • While giraffes are found outside the caldera, they are not able to make their way into the Crater owing to the steep incline of the Crater walls


  • January to March - The hottest and driest time of year to visit the crater and quite a busy time. Excellent game viewing at this time of year
  • April and May - Tanzania's long rainy season but shouldn’t be discounted at the Crater. Lush green grasses bring a huge variety of animals out to feed and if you don't mind the rain you get a fantastic safari experience
  • June to September - Temperatures start to increase and this is another great time of year for game viewing. This is the ideal time of year to combine the Crater with a safari in the Northern Serengeti
  • October to December - You can get some rain in November but temperatures are favourable and conditions are ideal for game viewing


In The Know

    • Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp offers the quickest access to the Crater floor via the Lemala access road meaning you can be on the Crater floor long before other vehicles
    • Although it is a large property, Serena Ngorongoro is one of the most incredibly located hotels in the world and offers stunning views down into the Crater
    • Always plan for a 2-night stay at the Crater as you need a full day to explore and enjoy the incredible game viewing that it has to offer
    • The Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which is home to the Masai people who still live in their traditional villages scattered throughout the area. You'll see them herding their cattle along the plains and valleys seeking grazing for their livestock

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